Barometer, made by George Adams

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in London

Postcard of Barometer, made by George Adams.
© National Museums Scotland

Barometer, made by George Adams

This domestic mercury stick barometer was made by George Adams around 1780. The son of the elder man of the same name, the younger George Adams (1750-95) succeeded to the business and the royal appointment on his father's death in 1772. His workshop continued, as it had done under his father, to produce a wide variety of mathematical, optical and philosophical instruments, all of remarkable quality. Amongst items produced were barometers for the domestic market.

The barometer has a wooden case with a rounded top above the scale, with a glazed front door. The silvered scale, signed: 'Geo. Adams Fleet Street London' is marked from 27 inches to 31 inches at one inch intervals, subdivided to tenths of an inch. There is a moveable vernier for reading off fractions of an inch. There is a removable wooden cistern cover, while the brass screw underneath bears on to the leather base of the cistern to alter the height of the mercury.

With the growth of the consumer society, amongst other goods which permeated down the social scale was furniture. An increasing demand for items at the luxury end of the market which had hitherto been the preserve of the aristocracy, led to an increase in the variety and price range of these goods. In 1784, for instance, Adams was advertising a range of barometers from 2 guineas to 5 guineas, and whereas this was beyond the purse of the average working man, it was reaching more of the middle classes than ever before.

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Online ID: 000-180-000-292-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0504: National Museums Scotland Part 2
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  T.1968.50
Date: 1750 -1800
Around 1780
Material: Wooden case, glass fronted door, silvered scale, wooden cap, brass adjusting screw, leather base. Inscription: Geo Adams Fleet Street London / Very Dry Set Fair FAIR RAIN Much Rain Stormy
Dimensions: 37.50" H x 4.50" W; 4.25" D
What: Barometer, cistern
Subject: 10. METEOROLOGY (Departmental Classification)
Who: George Adams, Fleet Street, London (Maker)
Where: England, London
Description: Cistern barometer, used in meteorology, made in the second half of the eighteenth century and signed by George Adams of London
  • For domestic barometers by Adams, see Goodison, N. English barometers 1680-1860. Woodbridge, Suffolk, 1977, pp 126-129, plates 25 and 26. 
  • For the Adams business, see Millburn, J.R. Adams of Fleet Street: Instrument Makers to King George III. Aldeshot, 2000. 
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